Experience Terms and Conditions

Cancellations and Amendments


We have a no refund policy for all experiences at Bristol Zoo Gardens. If you wish to rearrange or cancel your experience please note that there may be a charge depending on the notice time.

Please see the information below, if you need to rearrange please contact our experiences team directly on 0117 4285 300. If no one is able to take your call, please leave a message with your experience choice, preferred date, name and contact telephone number and we will respond as soon as possible.

  • Changes up to 8 weeks prior to the experience date incur a £20 change and can only be made once. Please note experiences are busy and you may need to be placed on a waiting list.
  • No changes to the date are allowed less than 8 weeks before the experience. 
  • No refunds will be made for cancellations.


If circumstances dictate, such as bad weather or a particular animal being unwell, it may be necessary to change the chosen activities without notice. In the rare event of this happening, we will always try our best to offer a suitable alternative. In case of emergency, Bristol Zoo Gardens reserves the right to close all or parts of the zoo as necessary. Where this significantly impacts on the experience, we will offer an alternative date.





Please note the relevant minimum age restriction applicable for your experience:

  • Penguin Experience – 6 years
  • Red Panda Experience – 6 years
  • Lemur Experience – 6 years
  • Meerkat Experience – 6 years
  • Tortoise Experience – 6 years
  • Fruit Bat Experience – 6 years
  • Lion Feeding Experience – 16 years
  • Gorilla Experience – 16 years
  • Zoo Keeper for the Day – 16 years
  • Junior Zoo Keeper Experience – 6 years


A parent/guardian must accompany children aged 6-15 years into the Zoo. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult into the animal enclosure but the adult cannot participate in the experience, unless they have purchased an experience for two people. All experiences include free entry for the participant plus one guest. Additional adults/children can come into the zoo on the day and are eligible for our standard group rate admission prices, but cannot take part in the experience.


Due to the hands-on nature of the experience, participants must be physically fit and suffering no severe health problems. Regrettably certain guests will be unable to take part including people with epilepsy; relevant phobias or known allergies; pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals. 


Whilst every effort is made to accommodate those with a disability or learning difficulty, due to practicality and health and safety this cannot always be achieved; please contact us for advice before purchasing.


The timetables for our experiences have been devised in order to allow as much time as possible with the keepers whilst not detracting from the running of the zoo. As such, we regret that it is not possible for us to fulfil activities outside those described.



Gorilla Experience only - Unfortunately, due to the risk of infection, participants will not be able to take part in the Gorilla Experience if they are unwell. If you are unwell (for example a cold) please call us in advance of your visit to let us know so that we can rearrange your experience for an alternative date if necessary. Please note that gorillas have unique personalities and, as such, it may not be possible for training to take place during the experience.


Junior Keeper Experience only - The experiences are split into morning and afternoon sessions; the morning session runs from 10:30 – 12:30 and includes feeding our African Penguins, the afternoon session runs from 14:30 – 16:30 and includes feeding our Fur Seals and Lemurs. Both sessions include bugs, reptiles and Meerkats. Please be aware that we cannot guarantee work with any particular animal. Only one adult (parent or guardian and no other children) may accompany the junior keeper during their experience. Additional adults and children are entitled to the standard group rate admission prices.


Zoo Keeper for the Day only – The experience is designed to give participants a broad overview of all the animal sections at BZG and as such does not guarantee participation with specific animal species.


Penguin Experience only – Only one child aged 6-14 years may take part in a Penguin Experience for two people; the other participant must be aged 15 years or over.



Health & Safety


All animals naturally carry a range of micro-organisms, some of which can be transmitted to humans where they can cause illness. Some animals also have the potential to cause harm through biting or scratching. Therefore it is essential that those taking part in our Experience follow any instructions closely. As with all zoos there are work related activities being carried out which may present a risk if these guidelines are not followed.


  • All participants in the scheme must have an up to date tetanus vaccination.
  • Please ensure all cuts/abrasions on exposed skin are covered with waterproof dressings and if needed disposable gloves, which are provided.
  • No smoking or eating is permitted within our animal areas.
  • Please do not eat the food intended for the animals
  • Hands need to be washed at every opportunity, especially after the sessions have finished.
  • Always use disposable gloves when advised.
  • Please avoid putting your face close to the animals, placing your fingers in your mouth, or kissing any animals.
  • Please remain with the host at all times.
  • Do not enter any enclosures without instruction from your host.
  • Do not touch/stroke any animal without your host’s permission.
  • Please ensure appropriate footwear and clothing is worn – no flip-flops or high heels. This includes any hot/cold weather clothing.
  • No jewellery, apart from ear studs, is permitted.
  • Long hair should be tied back.
  • Any accidents should be reported to your host immediately so appropriate action can be taken and first aid provided if necessary.
  • In the event of any emergency please follow the instruction of your host.
  • Experience participants must meet the minimum age restriction for their experience.
  • Food & drink is available on site and can be purchased from our onsite food outlets.



Safety Procedures


Approaching and handling animals

All animals should be approached in a calm and quiet manner. It is important to neither surprise nor corner an animal as they may act defensively and cause injury to you, the keeper and themselves. When in close contact with any animal you are at risk from being hurt by them. The potential for injury will vary according to the size and species of animal and the reason for the attack. Behavioural changes will occur according to reproductive cycles, illness, injury or stress and sometimes for no apparent reason. Animals are unpredictable and you should never be complacent with regard to safety precautions when handling animals. The animal keeper will supervise the approach and handling of animals under their responsibility and at all times practice safe handling techniques.


Observation of animal enclosures

You will accompany the relevant animal keeper and patrol the section observing the animals. At no time will you be allowed to enter an area or enclosure without the supervision of a qualified keeper.


Diet and nutrition

Relevant if your experience involves the preparation of food and feeding the animals. Instruction and assistance will be given regarding the preparation of animal feeds. Particular attention will be drawn to safety matters regarding the use of knives. Feeding the animals will require close contact with some species and all necessary safety precautions must be adhered to according to the feeding protocols. These include protection when necessary and provision of a safe working distance from the animals where appropriate. The feeding of any animals will be strictly supervised by the keeper responsible.


Animal husbandry

Relevant for the Zoo Keeper for the Day and Junior Zoo Keeper Experience. This may include a variety of tasks from cleaning/mucking out, to the collection and preparation of new bedding and enclosures. Instructions will be given regarding safe handling, lifting and the correct use of tools and equipment. Protective clothing or equipment will be provided if necessary and the animal keeper will supervise all tasks.



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